Last night, Mayor Manuel Marono took a thin victory over candidate Marcos Villanueva in yesterday’s Sweetwater mayoral election. Marono won by just under a hundred votes.
By the end of his upcoming term, Marono will have served for more than sixteen years as Sweetwater's mayor. The three commissioners featured on his election signs took easy victories (two ran unopposed).
“I’m happy that I won,” Marono said by telephone today. “I’m not pleased with the results.” Villanueva, who could not be reached for comment, has not called or visited Marono to offer his congratulations. “I guess that just shows what kind of a person he is,” Marono said.
But the lack of back-patting is hardly surprising. Villanueva’s shoe-string campaign included allegations of massive mismanagement, corruption and fraud.
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“It’s a little shameful that [Villanueva] dragged the city into the kind of mud-slinging he did,” Marono added. When asked what he was up to today, Marono seemed to shrug. “Working,” he said.
Larry Churchman, Villanueva’s chief organizer and a Sweetwater police officer, said he was sickened by the decision. Marono had his predecessor and mentor Jose Pepe Diaz greeting voters outside the polls on his behalf, he complained.
“We gave them a hell of a run,” he added. He plans to contest the election results. --Calvin Godfrey